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5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Jonathan Queen, author of Are You S.A.N.E.

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Jonathan Z. Queen, author of Are You S.A.N.E.
(Asikari Publishing)

Author and motivational speaker, Jonathan Z Queen, draws on his experiences as a convicted drug-dealer and career criminal, who was able to change his life after spending over nine years in prison. Based on his street education, spiritual revival, drug/alcohol and cognitive therapy treatment, Jonathan provides an innovative approach to changing how you think so that you can feel the way you WANT to feel and become the change you desire to see.

Are You S.A.N.E. explores intriguing topics such as: The ‘Don’t Blame Me’ Mentality, Personal Prisons, Overcoming Addiction, Chained to the Gang, Spirit Up, Mis-sed Education, The Role Model Risk, Drug Dealers Anonymous, Keeping It Reality, Taking the Diss Out of Dysfunctional Families, and much more. Mr. Queen delivers a masterful mix of memoirs and motivation!

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Are You S.A.N.E.?

Jonathan McQueen: While promoting my first book, Don’t Blame Me: The Convict Chronicles, I did a lot of speaking events. I would end up talking about my prison experiences, which Don’t Blame Me is loosely based on, and how I was able to change from a drug dealing, womanizing, selfish criminal who was sentenced to 10 years in prison at the age of 23; to the father, husband, author, business man, and servant of God they see today. I was often told that my words, my inspirational testimony needed to be written down. Are You S.A.N.E. is a result of my promise to share the things I have learned and to teach others how they too, can set a new example.

JP: Are You S.A.N.E. is a dynamic model using the classic concept “each one teach one” as its foundation. What has the response been from those who are up for the challenge after read this book?

JM: I am receiving a lot of positive praise for being so honest and thorough in the book. Many people are reading it a second time and responding to many of the S.A.N.E. Challenges I issue at the end of each chapter. I try to say this with complete humility, but I already know that this book is going to help change the world. God gives us certain experiences (trials if you will) that prepare us to offer a credible and authentic voice to those who are going through similar trials.

Are You S.A.N.E. has something for everyone. Because of my willingness to self-disclose as well as share the tools and coping strategies I have gained and used to become a model of change, there are people who will read and become teachers.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Are You S.A.N.E. getting out to the public?

JM: I am very motivated to motivate others. I do a lot of speaking events, and I use those opportunities to promote my books. Whether it’s schools, prisons, churches or businesses, I try to include a signing as part of my contract. Because of my history and my sincerity, I am also one of the few authors who can do signings with your favorite street lit author as well as your favorite non-fiction and christian authors.

I am also becoming very savvy at using the virtual world to promote myself, my books and my message. That’s not bad for a man who came home from prison a little over three years ago and was so Internet-challenged my 11-year-old daughter sighed many times as she helped me navigate the web and taught me the power of Google.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Are You S.A.N.E.?

JM: Are You S.A.N.E. took me over 18 months to write. I would love to blame it on the fact that I was promoting my other book, working full time, raising children, working in the community, etc.. Truth is, I was still growing as I was writing and God was doing what He does to assure that what I wrote would bring glory to Him. The deeper my spiritual revival, the more I began to transition from simply telling my story to writing about the things I have gained that have made me better.

As far as my process is concerned, I carry a hand held recorder and write notes on anything within reach at the time a thought hits me. I sit at the computer and type and edit, type and edit. And I am blessed with a beautiful wife who will bring my dinner to the computer and tell the kids to keep it down while Daddy is writing.

JP: What’s next for Jonathan Z. Queen?

JM: The ‘Are You S.A.N.E. Tour’ will begin in the Fall and will include motivational speakers, authors, poets, musical guests and pastors. God willing, it will help uplift our youth and inspire them to become the change they want to see in this world and start that “Change Reaction”.

I will also work at growing New Mindz into a nationally recognized outreach and uplift program. I will bring the story “Next” from Don’t Blame Me, to the stage, hopefully for World AIDS Day. And look for my series of Christian children and YA books Entitled Cool Like Us to go live in December 2009. I want to thank everyone who continues to support me, my books and my ministry. I promise you I will not let you down.


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